FIDE won the case against Karpov 2010 Inc. and five national federations
Late last night, the Court of arbitration for sport (CAS) issued its decision in the arbitration opposing FIDE to Karpov 2010 Inc. and to five national federations. The CAS main rulings are as follows:
The majority of the Panel considered that it has jurisdiction to decide on the National Federations claims. On the contrary, it ruled that it has no jurisdiction with respect to the claims made by Karpov 2010 Inc. which was claiming damages which it allegedly incurred as “campaign costs expended by the Karpov presidential ticket”.
Claimants were asking the Panel to find “that Mr. Karpov was validly nominated by the [Russian Chess Federation] as its sole nominee to run for the Presidency of FIDE”. The Panel considered that FIDE had no standing to be sued with respect to this prayer of relief and that Claimants should have commence proceedings against the competent Russian bodies.
Concerning the conditions to be nominated, the Panel reminded that it has always been FIDE’s practice that the membership requirements for candidates on a Presidential ticket were not applied strictly so long as the candidates are part of the “chess family” and that this practice is in line with the text of FIDE Electoral Regulations. In addition, the Panel considered that it is sufficient for a candidate on a Presidential ticket to be a member of any of the FIDE members and that the requirement of a one-year membership is not mandatory but recommended. In light of this principle, the Arbitrators considered that it was not necessary for them to decide on the validity of the nomination of the RCF or of other federations.
The Panel therefore considered that it is sufficient for Mr Ilyumzhinov to be a member of the RCF and part of the chess family which he obviously is in view of the long-lasting FIDE Presidency. For similar reasons, the Panel stated that it is clear that Ms Marinello, who also belongs to the USCF, has been validly nominated by the federations of Chile and Brazil.
For the sake of completeness, the Panel added that the withdrawal by the Argentinian of its endorsement of the Ilyumzhinov ticket does not affect the nomination filed by it prior to the applicable deadline.
In conclusion, the Panel rejected Claimants’ claims requesting that both Mr Ilyumzhinov’s and Ms Marinello’s nominations be deemed invalid and, accordingly, rejected Claimants’ that Mr. Ilymzhinov’s ticket be disqualified from the election.
Claimants were also alleging that “FIDE has breached its obligations to act with impartiality towards the candidates and to conduct the election in a fair manner”. On that issue, the Panel considered that the testimony heard did not produce proof of an impartial and unfair conduct on the part of FIDE. On the contrary, the FIDE Secretariat alerted the Karpov’s ticket a few hours before the lapse of the term for nominations that a certain signature was missing. The Secretariat would certainly not have acted in this manner, the Panel said, had they intended to unfairly help the ticket of Mr. Ilyumzhinov.
Despite this positive outcome, FIDE deeply regrets the FIDE resources spent on its efforts to have this frivolous claim dismissed.
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Rebuttal by the Karpov team:
FIDE Failed to Verify Nominations, but No Disqualifications from Swiss Court
The court case brought by five national federations against Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s FIDE to contest the legitimacy of his ticket’s nominations has failed to bring the desired result of forcing Kirsan to follow the rules. While we are disappointed that Kirsan’s administration will not be directly punished for abusing FIDE powers and ignoring regulations, we look forward to winning the vote in Khanty-Mansiysk!
Although it found that FIDE failed to properly verify the validity of the nominations, the Lausanne Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled against the federations because the wording of the FIDE regulations is insufficiently specific on the matter of nomination requirements. One of the main points of the lawsuit was that Kirsan and one of his nominees, Beatriz Marinello, had been nominated by federations of which they were not members for the required one year period. But because the wording of the regulations is vague and because there has been so little proper enforcement of the regulations in the past, the CAS panel apparently decided this requirement was insufficient to disqualify Kirsan’s ticket.
The panel, however, did seem to say that if there are any conflicts of interest, the relevant person or persons should recuse himself. This would mean that having the incumbent FIDE administration members running the election processes in Khanty-Mansiysk should not be allowed, and they should excuse themselves, or perhaps that impartial panels or mutually satisfactory third parties should be appointed to oversee the proceedings. Otherwise, the elections might be challenged since there is an obvious conflict of interest.
We will update this story as our legal team advises.